Coronavirus: 26 Mississippi legislators test positive for virus

Coronavirus: 26 Mississippi legislators test positive for virus
FILE PHOTO: At least 26 Mississippi lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials said. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

JACKSON, Miss. — At least 26 Mississippi lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials said.

Legislators that have tested positive include Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and State House Speaker Philip Gunn, both of whom did not wear masks at a bill signing at the governor’s mansion last week, CNN reported.

Gov. Tate Reeves said on social media that he and his family have tested negative for the virus.

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The infections come during a busy time for legislators who have met at the Capitol in recent weeks to discuss the budget, unemployment and passing a bill to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

"We could have done more to prevent this," State Rep. Robert Johnson III, the Democratic leader of the state's House of Representatives, told CNN. "It seems it was all about some erroneous, dangerously promoted political stance. It's disgusting. Our governor refuses to order statewide mask requirements and our leadership decided not to require it at the Capitol."

Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr., who tested positive, said he wore a mask but not all the time. He said he is isolating for two weeks.

"I can honestly say that I wore my mask 95% of the time when I was around the Capitol and public places, but that 5% can make a big difference," he said on social media.

There are 34,622 confirmed cases and 1,215 deaths from the coronavirus in Mississippi, according to The New York Times.